The film reboot of 21 Jump Street was a surprise hit in 2012. Though it had little to do with the television show upon which it was based, the movie pleased both audiences and critics. 22 Jump Street, the inevitable sequel, is more of the same and while that’s just fine, the movie never lets you forget it.
Just like the last film, 22 Jump Street puts Officers Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) undercover at a school to sniff out a drug ring. This time though, amid constant jokes about how old these two guys look, they head to college as opposed to high school. Also, the fact that the film follows the same formula as the first one, just with more glitz and glam is the entire point of the film. The movie makes fun of sequels even as it exists as one. The Meta-level jokes are mainly funny—especially when delivered by Nick Offerman and Ice Cube—but they do get old after a while. Luckily the film is hilarious even without the Meta jokes. There is one spectacular twist about halfway through that generates laughs throughout the rest of the film.
A lot of the humor, which I won’t spoil in this review, stems from the chemistry between Tatum and Hill. The two of them make for a formidable comedic duo—an “odd couple” if there ever was one. But beneath that, the audience can see the love and respect the two of them have for each other both on and off-screen. I could see ten movies with these guys in them.
I don’t want to say whether this film is better than the first or not. I laughed a whole lot, but despite the clever, self-aware approach from Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the first one felt more original. However, there is still no real good reason why this is based on 21 Jump Street. Like in the last film, there are some clever cameos from stars of the 80s drama, but you have to stick around all the way through the credits to catch them all. Seriously, stay through the credits.
Overall, I’m keeping this review short because there isn’t much to say about 22 Jump Street other than to say that it’s absolutely hilarious and arguably the best comedy of the summer thus far. If you liked the first one, you’ll really enjoy this one. The self-aware jokes get a little stale as the movie keeps beating the audience over the head with it, but it doesn’t significantly detract from a very, very funny film.